Starfield Persuasion - How Dialogue Works

Crimson fleet character in Starfield
Credit: Bethesda

Crimson fleet character in Starfield
Credit: Bethesda

Knowing Starfield's persuasion system and how dialogue in Starfield works can be key to get you out of a tricky situation unharmed. Before the game's release, game director Todd Howard, described it as an immersive experience where players engage in convincing conversations to sway other NPCs into doing their bidding. So, was it true?

In the year 2330, humanity advanced to the stars and colonized hundreds of planets across the Settled Systems. However, this vast and uncharted region of space is also home to danger, mystery, and adventure. Bethesda's Starfield will see players take the role of a space explorer who can chart their own course in a vast and unpredictable galaxy.

They can choose to play the game as a smuggler, a bounty hunter, or even a scientist. The Settled Systems are a diverse and fascinating place where players can encounter alien species, explore massive cities and ruins, and discover lost technology across hundreds of planets. They'll also have to contend with pirates, raiders, and other dangerous threats.

Starfield Persuasion System Explained

Starfield's persuasion system is a more sophisticated take on the dialogue mini-game featured in previous Bethesda titles. This time, persuasion is not just about picking the correct dialogue option but also about using your character's skills to observe the situation and the personality of the NPC you are trying to persuade to your advantage.

How to get Persuasion in Starfield

Trying to use Persuasion is more complex than you might think. You need to unlock the ability to use this system. Choosing the appropriate background when creating your character is the easiest way to do it. The following backgrounds come with the Persuasion skill unlocked:

Alternatively, you'll have to unlock it from the Social Skills section of the vast skill tree selection available.

So, when you attempt to persuade an NPC in Starfield, you will be presented with a dialogue wheel that offers various options. Green are easy choices that will work most of the time, while red ones can be threats or see your character use a more authoritative tone; these are harder to succeed.

You'll notice in the image below that each option has a number right next to it on top of being colour-coded. Let's break down this system.

How to Use Persuasion in Starfield

Using Dialogue in Starfield
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Credit: Bethesda

The goal is to fill up a small bar at the bottom left of your screen in the Persuasion menu. Let's say, for example, you need five points and have three turns to do it.

You can try to play it safe by going for +1 green options, and there's a chance you will fill the five-point bar despite only having three turns to do it; that is because as long as your choices are successful, the game will give you a free turn until you succeed, or fail, whichever happens.

If you're feeling adventurous, red options with a +5 can instantly make you persuade enemies, although it can go wrong quickly if you fail.

Your character's abilities and skills can boost your Starfield persuasion score. For instance, having the Speech skill increases your chances of persuading NPCs successfully. In addition, the situation you find yourself in can also impact your persuasion score; if you try to convince an NPC in haste, you'll have to be even more persuasive or else they won't agree with you.

The personality of the NPC you want to persuade can also influence your persuasion score. This is because only some of the game's NPCs are equally easy to convince. So, a friendly and trusting NPC is more likely to be influenced than a suspicious and distrustful NPC or, as previously mentioned, one in haste.

Starfield character
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Credit: Bethesda

In a Q&A session with Todd Howard in October last year, the Starfield director said the game is looking to return to a more classic Bethesda-style dialogue.

"The scope of the game, the amount of content we’re making is a bit more than we’ve done before in terms of quests and things like that, but the depth in some of the stuff with the dialogue, we just passed 250,000 lines."

Previous Bethesda titles, such as Skyrim and Fallout, had 60,000 and 111,000 lines, respectively. This means that the dialogue lines in Starfield will be more than double what players have experienced from the company's previous titles.

The director adds that Starfield's persuasion system is his favorite:

“It feels like part of the dialogue, but you’re spending points to persuade them… It feels natural, not like I’ve entered some other mode where I’m not doing regular dialogue. I’m in this mode of persuading you to get what I want.”

So it's safe to say that they've succeeded, making the Persuasion system in Starfield one of the best we've seen in Bethesda titles!

Persuasion in Starfield Tips

Noel sitting down in Starfield
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Credit: Bethesda
  • Choose your options carefully. Each option has a different persuasion score, so choose the option with the highest persuasion score as it's most likely to be successful.
  • You can use your character's skills. If you have the Speech skill, you will be more likely to persuade NPCs. You can also rank up the Persuasion skill, which should increase your chances of success on most speech challenges.
  • Consider the situation; your situation can also affect your persuasion score.
  • Please keep in mind the NPC's personality. You can catch some NPCs when they're happy, upset or in haste. Depending on their personality, some NPCs are more easily persuaded than others.

The persuasion system in Starfield is a complex and nuanced system that allows players to use a variety of factors to persuade NPCs. With careful planning and execution, players can use the persuasion system to get what they want from pretty much every one of the game's NPCs.

Starfield is a game that rewards exploration and discovery. The more you explore, the more you'll learn about the galaxy and its inhabitants. You'll also find powerful weapons, armor, and other essential items that'll help you rank up your persuasion skills and help you understand the diverse set of NPCs in the game.

While you are here, look at some of our articles, including our huge guide regarding ship customization in Starfield!

For all things Starfield, stick with us at Starfield Portal.

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